Gaming is something that I’ve been doing since I was a kid, it comes natural to me. My dad played games and we always had consoles at home, it was kind of his way of winding down after work. I used to get excited about the “TV games” that he’d bring home and eventually when I was old enough we’d play them together. I have these great memories of playing games like Legend of Zelda with him as a kid, each one of us taking turns at difficult bosses or figuring out puzzles.

So needless to say I never stopped playing them. It takes a lot to get me into a game nowadays, with my most anticipated games being a mixed bag of weird genres and styles of games. Right now I’m most looking forward to Shenmue III, Mass Effect Andromeda, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. Most of these games are easy to understand, but Mount & Blade is kind of my go-to when it comes to multiplayer time killing.

When I’m writing I tend to open up Mount & Blade: Warband and play a bit, die a bit, minimize and continue working for a while before tabbing back into playing some more. It’s a great way to work through some frustrations and to keep my mind sharp. Needless to say there is a lot of anxiety behind Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord. Why? Because there hasn’t been a blog entry in about a year now from Taleworlds and while Warband is still great, the community is starting to wind down and only attracts new players during Steam sales and most of those players are trolls looking to be a dick in their new $2 game.

But finally the faithful were rewarded today at gamescom with a slew of new videos. Sure, they aren’t the best, but they sure as hell give me a lot of hope.

First up we have the trailer that they played at gamescom today. It doesn’t give away a ton but noticeable is that the graphics are improved by a lot. I’ve seen some slagging the graphics and while this is no AAA title by any stretch of the imagination, the Mount & Blade series has always been about epic gameplay. My first time in a 100+ person multiplayer siege was what hooked me. I couldn’t believe that I was involved in something as big as that and how the game was playing so smoothly.

There is just so much in this video, from the siege weaponry (which you have limited access to in Warband with mods, such as the NeoGK mod) to the scope of these battles. Then, of course, they focus on the minigames with a look at what looks like a version of checkers. I dunno, it’s no Gwent but single player isn’t my big focus right now, although I’m hoping for it to be as addictive as Mount & Blade’s has always been.

Perhaps the most exciting part of today’s news was in the B-roll footage that they sent to journalists.

It shows more of the character creation, which was fun in Warband but a bit limited. They cycle through some familiar faces from the world of entertainment today to show just how powerful their creation suite can be.

What’s most exciting for fans of the single player is watching what comes next of the player running through a populated city street into a tavern. Then more of a populated city, some dialogue options with a merchant and things leading to blows. Don’t they always? At 2:11 starts the actual combat and if you were concerned about Bannerlord varying much from the previous games never fear, it is still Mount & Blade at its core.

The swordplay looks very similar to what Warband looks like, but just a little tweaked. The animations seem smooth in comparison  and it looks like it won’t be a vastly different game. This is a good thing since the Warband engine is beloved by so many with the right balance between technical gameplay and crazed melee fun.

The video ends with a look at the overworld map from single player which isn’t vastly different and then some music.

Still no release date and still no in depth look at the gameplay just yet, but I must say that any fears that I had were washed away with these videos. I’d love to get my hands on this in the near future.